Tuesday Tip: How to text from your computer
There are times when it’s quite useful to send a text from your computer to a cell phone. Maybe you’ve lost your own phone, you’re over your text limit for the month or you’re at some exotic island that has internet but no cell service.
One option is to use one of the many websites out there that offer this service. But these tend to require registration, ask you for your email address and sell your information. Instead, try one of these three simple methods.
1. Use your email
You can send a text message straight from your email account. All you need is the phone number of the recipient and the name of their mobile carrier. Don’t know the carrier? If you know the phone number, you can find the carrier at CarrierLookup.com.
Type out your text as you would a normal email. Then, in the address bar, put the phone number, followed by the carrier’s domain. For example, @vtext.com (Verizon) or @messaging.sprintpcs.com (Sprint).
So say you’re sending a text to a friend whose phone number is 123-456-7890 and carrier is Verizon. In the address bar, you’d put firstname.lastname@example.org. T-Mobile numbers require a 1 in front of the phone number.
When your friend replies, the message will arrive in your email inbox. You can send the same text to multiple people by adding multiple recipients in the address bar.
We’ve compiled a list of carrier domains below. Take note: there are different domains for regular texts (SMS) and texts that include photos (MMS). Also take note: If you send a text longer than 160 characters, it will arrive as an MMS, and you’ll need to use the MMS domain to send it, not the SMS domain.
2. Use MightyText or Pushbullet
These are free apps that let you send and receive Android SMS and MMS messages from your computer screen. They’re intended less for the occasional PC-to-phone texter and more for the serious multitasker who has no time for distractions.
With these apps, whenever you get a text or notification, it appears in a window on your desktop at the same time as your phone. So if you’re working at your computer and your phone dings, you can read the text and reply without even looking up. There are many other features as well.
Free versions of the apps come with a cap on the number of texts you can send per month. Pro versions of the apps cost around $5 a month.
3. Use iMessage (iOS and MacOS)
Later versions of Apple’s operating system include an option designed for forwarding SMS messages directly to your Mac or other iOS device. Once you’ve set it up, you can also send messages from your Apple computer to any phone number using the Messages app on your desktop – without ever picking up your phone.
First, go to the main Settings menu and tap Messages. Then toggle on iMessage and make sure you’re logged into the same iCloud account as all other devices using Messages. Make sure all your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Then tap Text Message Forwarding and toggle the switch directly to the right of the Apple device to which you want to send SMS messages. Enter the 6-digit confirmation code displayed on the device. This will confirm that you want to send and receive messages on your Mac and confirm that you own the machine.
The message limit is 160 characters. You can send messages to other iOS and MacOS users for free, as long as they’re also using Messages.